Monday Morning Movie Review: The Ghost Writer (2010)

Roman Polanksi is a sexual weirdo and a fugitive from justice, but, dang, he makes good movies.  A couple of weekends back I stumbled upon The Ghost Writer (2010) on Hulu, more evidence that the streaming service is upping its game.

The Ghost Writer is a product of the Bush Era, when Hollywood was obsessed with Bush Derangement Syndrome—a psychological condition akin to Trump Derangement Syndrome, but which now seems quaint and cute by comparison.  The plot involves a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) hired to punch-up the boring, windy memoirs of a Tony Blair-esque former British Prime Minister.  The former PM is facing prosecution for war crimes for his alleged role in illegally torturing terrorists during the War on Terror, and while he is considered a “world-historical” figure, his pro-war stance while PM has made him deeply unpopular.

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Walkin’

Yesterday morning, longtime Nebraska Energy Observer contributor Audre Myers shared a charming post, “Walking …“—a reflection of the late 1960s and Woodstock.  Regular commenter Scoop posted an achingly nostalgic response that sums up the significance of Woodstock to that cohort of early Boomers—it was the last incandescent burst of rock ‘n’ roll’s triumph before petering out in the 1970s (which, I would argue, is when hard rock got good).

The tug of nostalgia is a strong one.  I’m only thirty-five, and I already feel it from time to time.  Indeed, I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia, which a psychologist might argue is one of the reasons I studied history.  Perhaps.  I also just enjoy learning trivia.

Regardless, Audre’s post caught my attention because I have been contemplating the literal, physical act of walking lately (although I often take metaphorical strolls down memory lane, too).  I’ve put on a bit of weight in The Age of The Virus, so I’ve taken up walking as a way to complement a regimen of calorie counting (which is more of a loose, back-of-the-envelope calorie guesstimate each day).

I’m trying to get in around two miles of focused walking a day, mostly around Lamar.  Although work commitments don’t always make that possible, I do find that simply going about my work results in around two miles of walking in aggregate.  I’m curious to see what my step totals will be once the school year resumes, and I’m dashing about between classes, pacing the rows of students, and striding across the boards as I teach.

I’m not a runner, by any means.  My older brother loves to run, and has the physique to show for it.  More power to him, but I know myself well enough to know it’s not something I want to do.  Runners swear oaths to running’s efficacy and delights, but gasping for breath in 100-degree weather with maximum humidity doesn’t appeal to me.  Walking at a brisk clip in that weather, though, is at least bearable—once I’ve embraced the stickiness and the sweat, I can go for a couple of miles easily, and sometimes three or four.

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My Musical Philosophy in Song: “Delilah”

On Sunday (my first day back playing piano in church!—everyone else was in their cars listening over a short-range broadcast)—I posted a video to my Facebook artist page of Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson singing Tom Jones’s 1968 classic “Delilah”:

I’ve received a handful queries about my statement that “this video sums up my entire musical philosophy.”  Naturally, there’s a bit of cheek in that statement.  My short answer is similar to the jazz musician’s (Louis Armstrong? Dizzy Gillespie?) when a lady asked him how to swing:  “if you have to ask, you’ll never know.”  The video should speak for itself:

But I began digging into this video a bit more.  What is this bizarre game show?  When was it aired?  How did Bruce Dickinson end up singing “Delilah”?  It reminds me another video that “sums up my entire musical philosophy”—Jack Black’s appearance on American Idol singing Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”:

Fortunately, there are some scant details out there.  The show was Last Chance Lotter with Patrick Kielty, an Irish game show that ran for ten episodes in 1997.  The gimmick was that the show took losers from other game shows, gave them a lottery ticket, and anyone who had a ticket worth ten pounds or more could compete in the main game.  Some of the money won would go into a pot for one random audience member to win.

I haven’t quite worked out how the musical numbers figured in, but the musical guest would essentially sing a song to add even more cash to the pot by spinning a wheel (that was transparently rigged—the audience knew the wheel was controlled, from what I can gather).  That’s why Bruce Dickinson was on the show, and his performance of “Delilah” is one of the most spectacular musical renditions I’ve ever heard:  mariachi horns, bouncing bassists, leopard-print suits, and Dickinson’s soaring vocals.

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The Spectator Turns 10,000

The British libertarian magazine The Spectator reached its 10,000th issue.  It is the only magazine ever to reach this milestone.  It began life as a newspaper in July 1828, becoming a magazine “more than 100 years” later, although it was apparently always a weekly.

Throughout its history, The Spectator took radical positions for the times.  They supported the expansion of the franchise in Britain in 1832, and supported the Union in the American Civil War at a time when many Britons were concerned about the impact of cotton shortages on the British textile industry than they were about slavery (correctly or not, The Spectator cast the American Civil War in moral terms).

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Lazy Sunday XLVII: Winning

Need a soundtrack to go with all the winning conservatives are enjoying under President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson?  Download Contest Winner – EP for just a few bucks, or download the legendary title track.

As I wrote yesterday, it’s been a good week for populism and national sovereignty.  It’s easy to get caught up in the myriad defeats on our side, and it’s frustrating that we seem to rally only at the last possible moment to prevent total catastrophe, but it’s worthwhile to look back at our victories from time to time.

To that end, this edition of Lazy Sunday is dedicated to looking back at some conservative victories.  One of the pieces looks back at our greatest Secretary of State, who although was a part of the totalizing New England faction that dominates progressive thought today, also helped created our national borders with his diplomatic finesse.

  • Independence Day” – This post was a brief celebration of Great Britain’s final exit from the blight that is the European Union.  Hip, hip, hooray!
  • Trump Stands for Us” – This piece linked to an essay from my blogger buddy photog, “The Unique Value of the Trump Presidency“; both photog’s original and my commentary are worth reading.  There’s a popular meme that shows President Trump sitting sternly, pointing directly at the viewer, with a caption that reads something along the lines of, “They’re not after me, they’re after YOU; I’m just in the way.”  Boy, does that speak volumes.  As photog points out, President Trump truly does stand with us, the American people.  In part, he does that simply by not despising us the way our elites do.
  • Mueller Probe Completed, Trump Vindicated” – Before the Ukraine impeachment hoax, there was the Russian collusion hoax.  How soon we forget.  While Mueller declined to write in his report that Trump could be fully vindicated, he also couldn’t make a case for Russian collusion.  Trump did nothing wrong!  After the Senate acquits GEOTUS this week, I wonder what scary Slavic country they’ll pick next.  Maybe they’ll allege that President Trump is in league with Viktor Orban in Hungary?  That would make me support him even more!
  • #MAGAWeek2018 – John Quincy Adams” – A bit of an outlier here, but I wrote a fairly lengthy rundown of John Quincy Adams—probably our best Secretary of State, and one of our worst presidents—back in summer 2018 as part of #MAGAWeek2018.  JQA and his New England Puritan ilk can probably be faulted for many of the one-size-fits-all solutions progressives plague us with today (although he would have recoiled at what progressives want), but he was a genius in terms of foreign policy, and he was a sincere nationalist, in the best sense of that amorphous term:  he wanted to make American great, physically and economically.  It’s a worthwhile read to get some more insights into a largely forgotten historical figure.

That’s it for today!  Let’s keep winning in 2020, and KEEP AMERICA GREAT!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Independence Day

The day has finally come—after three-and-a-half years, Great Britain is finally leaving the European Union.  The British people are regaining their sovereignty and will begin their way back to enjoying their traditional English liberties.

The European Union is an overweaning, elitist, supranational tyranny.  It is a progressive dream, which is why the Leftists are melting down over Brexit, and attempted to thwart it for so many years.  Progressives today—just like progressives in the early twentieth century—are gaga for technocratic rule and elitist dominance.

It’s not about “democracy”; if it was, they would have accepted the outcome of the 2016 referendum.  Democracy only matters to progressives when it advances their ends.  That’s why progressives hold elections and referendums—repeatedly, if necessary—until they get the outcomes they want—and then the matter is settled forever.  If that doesn’t work, courts or the bureaucracy will effectively veto the voters’ “incorrect” choices.

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Lazy Sunday XLVI: Man Time

It’s been a big week for events in the manosphere.  Popular (and controversial) game pioneer Roosh V essentially ratified a decision from last year, and unpublished the remainder of his smuttier oeuvre.  At nearly the same time, the venerable Christian writer Dalrock announced the retirement of his blog, but after an outpouring of support (and shock), he has decided to leave the blog up, though he’s disabling comments.

As often happens on the blog, the unplanned, unofficial theme of the week became, naturally, the manosphere, and some discussion of its current state.  As such, this edition of Lazy Sunday looks back at some posts pertaining to that complicated, oft-misunderstand corner of the Internet:

  • The God Pill” (and “TBT: The God Pill“) – This post was my attempt to provide a (very brief) history of the manosphere in the context of one of its Big Three, Roosh V (the others in the triumvirate are Rollo Tomassi and the now-deplatformed Chateau Heartiste/Roissy).  Roosh in particular underwent a lengthy transformation:  he embraced a life of casual sex and, not surprisingly, found it unfulfilling and empty.  He then descended into a period of despair (the “Black Pill”), but God reached down and scooped him up—thus, the “God Pill.”  It’s been remarkable to see Roosh confirm his newfound faith with the voluntary unpublishing of much of his work—a move that has not been without controversy.
  • The God Pill, Part II” – This post picks up the thread from Roosh’s conversion.  He kept several of his “game” books in print, but the conviction of the Holy Spirit finally led him to unpublish the remainder, including his bestseller, Game.  It seems Roosh is really attempting to live his faith fully, but he will need our spiritual support to stay the course.  He’s apparently even asking readers to give him advice on how to support himself going forward.
  • Reacting to Hysterical Reactions: Peloton Ad” – This piece was one of those throwaways I wrote hastily to meet my self-imposed daily deadline, but the media coverage of this Peloton ad really ticked me off.  I have no desire to spend $2000+ on an exercise bike with a video of a lesbian shouting at me.  But everyone—including our friends on the Right—were alleging this ad was proof of toxic masculinity and all the rest, simply because the wife is grateful for the gift (watch the ad in the original post).  Kudos to Dalrock, too, for drawing this one to my attention.
  • Royal Cuckery” – Poor Prince Harry.  It’s amazing how an attractive woman can make a man throw it all away.  It’s also amazing how the quality of “attractive”—which necessarily has a “best by” date affixed to it—can cause an otherwise upstanding man to ignore all the other warning signs:  a broken home, a prior divorce, a woke outlook on life.  A big thanks to Free Matt Podcasts for sharing this post in his weekly roundup, too.
  • Get Woke, Get Dumped” – This post was the contrasting companion piece to the Prince Harry one.  British actor Laurence Fox has taken the other route, and dumped his SJW girlfriend summarily.  He’s also sworn off women under 35—a dicier proposition, but understandable.  Younger girls have been so infected with and indoctrinated by wokery, it’s like talking to aliens.  There are obvious exceptions, of course, but those are called “unicorns.”

Well, that wraps up another beefy Sunday.  If those didn’t put some hair on your chest, there’s probably too much soy in your diet.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Size Matters

The big Christmas concert has come and gone.  It was pretty wild week, but now we’re on the downward slope.

When I first started doing these little Christmas concerts, we had maybe 100 students at the school.  There were no dance classes, and drama was kind of tacked onto English.  The focus was on the music, and in such a small environment, everything was simpler:  setup, planning, logistics.  It was all accomplished more informally.

Now the student body has nearly tripled in size.  With that growth has come added complexity.  Put it all in a gymnasium during basketball season—the sport third to only baseball and hockey for numbers of games and practices—and it makes for a herculean task.

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